President Quezon in Mexico (press coverage)

A transcript of press reports published in the EL UNIVERSAL of Mexico City, covering the visit to Mexico by President Manuel L. Quezon of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, on April 8 to 13, 1937, after visiting Washington, D.C. Prepared by Raul Guerrero Montemayor, Mexico City, 2001.

Thursday, April 1

Washington, March 31, 1937. The wish of the Government of Mexico to render full honors to the Head of State President Quezon, has been made public in the agenda being prepared in his honor.

It has been made known that President Cárdenas as well as his cabinet will take part in the reception and welcome ceremony as well as in the celebration which are being prepared in his honor. It has been stated, furthermore, that hommage will be payed to Mr. Quezon in the Congress of Mexico during a session of the Senate and the Lower House in which the President of the Philippines will take the floor.

The agenda organized by the Mexican Government includes a separate reception and a welcome ceremony for President Quezon by representatives of General Cárdenas at the border crossing of Nuevo Laredo from where “El Olivo”, the presidential train will transport the President of the Philippines and his party to the capital where he will be rendered the traditional honors as a Head of State.

Mr. Octavio Reyes Spándola, head of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will represent the Government of Mexico at the border upon officially greeting Pres. Quezon as he steps on Mexican soil. Those accompanying Mr. Reyes Spá­ndola wil be:General Arturo Alatorre representing General Avila Camacho, Under Secretary of Defense in charge of this mission; Major F. Lope and Capt. J. Cigala who are assigned as aides to Pres. Quezon,

N:B.: It has been said the President Quezon was not received nor accorded “los honores de Jefe de Estado” thanks to the intervention and objection by the U:S: Government– nor was he allowed to address the joint session of the Mexican Congress. President Cárdenas in fact, had to invent an excuse to get out of Mexico City — see following paragraph.

President Cárdenas was on tour the the states of Oaxaca, Puebla and Morelos. He left Talaloapan, Guerrero in the early morning of April 12 for Taxco to meet with President Quezon at noon.

Sunday, April 4th

The “Tren Olivo” will be leaving for the North — It will bring Mr. Manuel L. Quezon, President of the Philippines to the Capital of this Country. — he will be rendered honors as head as Head of State. (I think this was the headline.)

Monday, April 5th

UP. Washington April 5th — We quote the words of Pres. Quezon to the Ambassador of Mexico in Washington, Dr. Francisco Castillo Najera before leaving on the night of April 5th for the Mexican border .

“This trip marks the fullfilment of a dream I have had since my early childhood to visit the Country that shares strong historical links with mine.

In reference to his forthcoming trip to Mexico City, the President of the Philippines, don Manuel Quezon speaking before a group of people in Washington expressed his wish to establish strong cultural and friendly relations between the Philippines and the the republics of the Americas.

However, the Head of State abstained from making any indication concerning the future diplomatic policy his Country in its ties with the countries of Latin America.

In any case, it is accepted as a fact in the diplomatic Latin-American circles in the U.S. Capital, that once the Philippines gains its complete autonomy, it will have to be considered as a part of this continent and, therefore, have the right to be included in the Panamerican Union and a member of the international organisms of the Americas.

Mr. Quezon, commented to the UP representative that he looks forward to his annouced visit to Mexico. His speeches will be pronounced in Spanish, which he speaks with absolute perfection as it is the language in which he was educated.

The existence of the Philippine Islands as a political entity of Spanish origin is historically linked to Mexico. As a result Spain, through Mexico, enriched the Philippine archipelago with its blood and civilization. It is for this reason that Pres. Quezon has felt the desire to visit Mexico before any other hispanic nation because of the racial bonds existing with his Country — a history that strengthens the ties of the People of Mexico with the People of the Philippines. These ties were kept alive for almost 250 years thanks to the commerce through the galleon trade between Acapulco and Manila. Historical changes played a role in the weakening, and to a certain degree, the disappearance of this close relationship which had lasted 2 ½ centuries. To this we owe the independence of Mexico, the development of faster international commercial routes through the opening of the Suez Canal, the construction the Panama Canal and the change brought about in the Philippine Islands as a result of the Spanish-American War.

It is underlined that our original ties created by a common heritage never ceased to be strengthened thanks to our friendly relationship with one another.

At the dawn of attaining the longed for independence of the Philippines, Pres. Quezon wishes to renew the old friendship that the People of the Philippines enjoyed with the People of Mexico for over a period of 15 generations. Quezon and the Philippines, at this time continue to be true to their origin by feeling, thinking and expressing themselves in Spanish–the language in which their national heroes expressed their demands for liberty, the language in which they first sang their national anthem.

There is no doubt that the Philippines has the right to feel included in the great family of Latin countries of the American Continent. Because of its cultural background, its history, its material and spritual ties it has always belonged to the group of peoples of Latin America. The impression of the oncoming visit of President Quezon is as if Mexico were awaiting an old and brotherly friend it had never forgotten and held dear in spite of many years of separation due to adverse circumstances.

In the EXCELSIOR (Mexico City Newspaper) Monday, April 5th

Carlos P. Romulo the journalist, said to the “Excelsior” in N.Y. that for reasons related to protocol, President Quezon could not divulge any comparisons in regard to the projects of his government compared with those which have already been adopted in Mexico. Upon this note the president interrupted Romulo by saying, “There is nothing in protocol that prevents me from saying that I have always believed that we have related problems and that our peoples who are psychologically very similar, we are the heirs of the same culture and language. In Mexico I don’t expect to be in a strange Country , I expect to be in a Country that shares fraternal bonds with mine. In your beautiful Aztec capital I will feel as if I were in Manila observing the same customs and hearing the same language. The Philippines, the last of the children of Spain, is on the road to begin is a new life of sovereignty among the free nations. The future has a great deal to offer us and this visit to Mexico, a sincere expression of our friendship and good will, supports my feeling that our Countries share many interests.which bring them together.

Tuesday, April 5th

The President of the Philipines, Mr Quezon departed yesterday. He was seen off at the Washington Railroad Station by Dr. Francisco Castillo Najera, ambassador of in Washington.

President Quezon and party leave for Mexico City

On Mrs. Quezon’s left is the Mexican ambassador to the United States.
Philippine Free Press, April 24, 1937.

Wednesday, April 7th

Mr. Quezon will reach Laredo today at 21:00.

Thursday April 8th

President Quezon will thoroughly go over the Agrarian Reform.

Accommodated in the Castle of Chapultepec:

Mrs. Aurora Aragon de Quezon; her daughters, Aurora and Zeneida (The spelling here is Zenaida);
Their son Manuel.
General Basilio J. Valdes
Major General Douglas MacArthur
Com. (Major) Manuel Nieto
Captain I.J.Davis (MacArthur’s aide)
Carlos P. Romulo

Manuel L. Quezon’s Statements

I wish to tell the Mexican people of Mexico that I am most happy and honored to have the opportunity to visit your beautiful country. From the moment that I was inaugurated President of the Philippines, I decided that on my first trip abroad, after having been in the United States was to visit Spain and Mexico because of the culttural and historiical ties that bring the Philipppines close to these two countries. I have the immense pleasure to visit Mexico bringing the message of of good will and friendship on behalf of the people and government of the Philippines to the the people and government of Mexico.

As in the past the galleons from Acapulco crossed the Pacific exchanging merchandise, I hope that today, by boat or other means, there will be an exchange of ideas and affection between the peoples of Mexico and the Philippines that will maintain both countries in constant contact with each other.

I trust that one day the President of Mexico will visit the Philippines. We will show the person representing you, the, admiration and warm affection we feel for Mexico.


The Secretary of Foreign Affairs, General Eduardo Hay; Mr. Cosme Hinojosa, Chief of the Central Department, Brigadier General Manuel Avila Camacho (who later became president),Under Secretary of Defense, General Benicio Lopez, Chief of Military Affairs of this Area, Atty. Ramon Beteta, Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Ernesto Hidalgo, Officer in Charge of Same.

U:S: Ambassador Josephus Daniels and his wife,the Ambassadors of China, Japan and Italy as well as other dignitaries;

the honor guard on the station platform, the 47th presidential batallion under the command of Colonel Reyes and a company of policemen in full dress. While the 47 Batallion presented arms,the band of the military staff under the direction of Captain Genaro Nuñez played the Philipppine National Anthem followed the National Anthem of Mexico.

(The only 4 Filipino residents in Mexico at the time: Luis Moreno la Calle, Antonio Eguia, Alfonso Mencarini and José Delgado were present at the station to welcome President Quezon.)

President Quezon arrived last night at 23:00 hours.

Saturday, April 10th

President Quezon renders homage to the Heroes of our Independence on Friday 9th at 10:30AM before the Independence Monument. He was accompanied by U:S: Ambassador Josephus Daniels, General Benecio Lopez, Chief of Military Affairs of this Area; Octavio Reyes Espindola, Head of Protocol, several members of the U:S: Embassy and Mr. Quezon’s retinue.

After a 10 minute silent observance, in the presence of representatives of the “Defenders of the Republic”, General Lopez conferred on Mr Quezon the “insignia” of this Association together with the document validating this act. Thereupon, he was invited to sign the book of honor of the guards. As he took pen in hand, Ambassador Daniels said to him: “Upon signing this document you commit yourself to defend Mexico at any moment.” Dr. Quezon immediately answered Mr. Daniels by saying, “Mr. Ambassador, I will always be glad to defend the independence of all countries no matter where they may be.”

In Xochimilco (in reply to Lic. Jimenez Rueda’s speech given at the banquet in Pres. Quezon’s honor):

“I have traveled greatly throughout the world, but up until now I had always thought that the Philippines was the most beautiful land on earth, that Filipinos were the most hospitable people of all, that our women the most enchanting and our flowers the most fragrant, but after having set foot on Mexican soil, I am convinced that there is a country more beautiful than mine, a people more hospitable, women more enchanting than those of my homeland and flowers more beautiful and fragrant. I am glad that I did not come here years ago when I was younger and less commited to my destiny because I’m afraid that had I come here in my early youth, today instead of being Filipino, I would be Mexican.”

He added that here he feels as if he were in his own country, he is familiiar with our songs ,having heard them in his homeland and he finds that the indiginous people of Mexico resemble the indigenous people of the Philippines.

“Mexico will be one the important countries of this continent. The close union of the nations of America through Mexico may be the one that will offer the human race the peaceful solution towards fraternity throughout the world in years to come.”


“I firmly believe that the only governments that can maintain stability in this era in which we live, are those that treat with justice the workers of land and cities. I feel, furthermore, that private capital must cooperate with government for this cooperation between capital and government contributes to the political and social stability of a nation

“I am not in favor of communism. I feel that it is in the interest of the nation to reserve the right to own private property, although, in my opinion, that right to own private property is not absolute, but relative –that is to say that the ownership of property must be subject to fundamental justice, therefore, if according to the criterion of the State, public interest is at stake, the right of expropriation, through just compensation, by the State should be exercised for the benefit of society in general..”

Lic. Luis Rodriiiiiguez, private secretary of the President of the Republic General Cardenas, said among other things:

“There are no longer frontiers for man — technology has ended with the image of our planet as out grandparents saw it. Now the love of learning about what exists beyond ones borders will do away with limitations and prejudices in the minds of everyone. Nothing keeps us from feeling like a part of the great community of nations, especially with regard to the Philippines where the same blood “gave strength to two indigenous peoples and one same tongue which brought the gift of speech to Minerva… May our illustrious guest be the messenger of honest and lasting understanding between the two zones, which because of their geographical locations represent the culture of two distant poles which is yet to flourish.”

The last words of Pres. Quezon as bade farewell to Mexico the night of Monday, april 12th:

“It is not easy say farewell to Mexico. Not only because we have been taken by its extraordinary beauty and the rich profusion of its natural treasures which make Mexico the most envied place in the world, but because we have felt the Mexican heart beat in unison with ours, we have experienced the warm Mexican hospitality in all of its spontaneity with which we have been received. This was not just a simple gesture toward a foreigner as dictated by protocol; this was the warm embrace from a long lost brother. We leave Mexico highly impressed by its culture and progress. Here we have seen a nation going forward on the foundation of a new social order where political awareness and patriotism united national forces in difficult moments binding them together in an effort bring forth a strong and progressive nation. Mexico and the Mexicans have won our admiration.”

Sunday, April 11th
“President Quezon visits the Military Academy”

Monday, April 12th

“Banquet in honor of Mr. Quezon.“ Fiesta “Charra” in honor of Mr. Quezon (Photos)

Tuesday April 13th

Shouting ‘Viva Mexico’ Pres. Quezon bade farewell.

He met with the e General Cárdenas in Taxco. (Photos) President Cárdenas and President in a strong and friendly embrace.

Raul Guerrero Montemayor
Author: Raul Guerrero Montemayor